“High Noon (at 8:30PM, CST)”
“We locked ourself inside.
the clown was out of control.
he stood there with his knife,
but we had spoons and fire.
Before he came to us,
he went to a house of mirrors.
his face, he painted white.
he came while no one knew him.
kill the clown.
he's so unfair.
His eyes were blue and green.
his mouth was red and yellow.
we opened up the door
and ran outside to fight him.
kill the clown.
he's so unfair.
let him die.”
-sung by Soley
(“Kill the Clown”)
I ate heartily, and took a luxurious hot bath. Then I went to the bedroom I kept in the office building and took a nice three hour nap.
When I woke, I had to dress for the meeting. I wore a subdued tan suit with a white shirt and black tie. I pretended to comb my hair (a process that, in recent years, had been taken over by a towel rather than a comb) and brush my teeth. I used no scents, even in my deodorant. Nothing was used that might offend anyone. I wasn’t going on a date, more standing before an angry lynch mob that I hoped to re-form as a jury. A hung one, I hoped.
The guys were similarly dressed, with minor variations.
We piled into a cab, thinking a limo would send the wrong message.
There was nothing to think about for the entire ride. All the precautions could be taken had been taken, all the thought had been exhausted. What we could do had been done.
I have rarely experienced such a dismally quiet ride. I had always planned to have myself cremated, so as to avoid this kind of car ride to a funeral.
I watched the skyline of Kansas City, a sight that had greeted me from so many trips far and wide across the world. It was a good place, for all its problems. Of all the cities in the country it is a most pleasant place to be. This gracious city, or Waimanalo (a small town in Hawaii) or San Francisco could be my home. But this one, at this stage of my life, is first.
The parking lot of the Arena was nearly empty. There were less than two score cars, and 4 buses parked there. It was hard to know how many had come, dropped people off, and left.
How many awaited us inside?
We would know in only moments.
We pulled up at the service entrance we had pre-chosen from the floor plan while we were still on the plane.
This hallway would lead us right up behind the stage where the meeting was to happen.
This was it. We stood behind the curtain.
Chester peeked out, but said nothing.
I signaled to the fellow who was to lower the lights out front.
The sound of hub-bub was loud. There were a lot of people in the house.
The curtain rose silently.
I walked out to the lectern in the dark. I put both hands on the large wooden stand. Then the lights came up and I could make out the first faces, in a reflection of the spotlight.
The houselights rose and let me see the rest.
There were well over 500 people, all in identical Clown make-up, holding guns, looking angrily at me.
Coggen stood to one side, a wide grin on his face.
Before I could say a word he raised his hand and brought it down like he was starting a race.
Every gun fired.
© C. Wayne Owens